The parents of a 19-year-old Nicholls State University student who died a year ago in an on-campus hayride accident are blaming their son’s death on hazing that allegedly included chugging alcohol and taking illicit drugs.
Their allegations are contained in a wrongful death lawsuit filed in 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge against the board of supervisors of the University of Louisiana System, Nicholls State University and others.
University of Louisiana System spokeswoman Jackie Tisdell said Tuesday the system does not comment on pending litigation.
She said the system had not been served with a copy of the lawsuit.
Nathan Trepagnier, a member of the Epsilon Beta chapter of Kappa Alpha Order, died Sept. 25, 2010, when he fell from the front of his fraternity’s homecoming hayride trailer and was run over, State Police have said.
The Lafourche Parish Coroner’s Office later revealed Trepagnier, of New Orleans, was three times over the legal blood-alcohol limit and had the anti-anxiety drug Valium in his system at the time of his death.
Trepagnier’s parents, Wilfred and Rosemary Trepagnier, allege in the lawsuit they filed Sept. 23 that members of Trepagnier’s fraternity provided alcoholic beverages and drugs to Trepagnier and other underage members of the fraternity.
The lawsuit claims alcohol and drugs were on the trailer.
Trepagnier’s parents contend the hazing of their son included “coercing him to ‘chug’ large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time and to further ingest illicit recreational drugs.’’
The lawsuit, which seeks an unspecified amount of monetary damages, alleges the defendants’ “failures, negligent and reckless acts and/or omissions’’ caused Trepagnier’s death.
Other defendants are Kappa Alpha, the Epsilon Beta chapter, several insurance companies and an unnamed member of Epsilon Beta, identified only as John Doe.
Kappa Alpha Order has an anonymous national anti-hazing hotline: (888) NOT-HAZE. The order also has a zero tolerance for hazing, the group’s Web site said.
The lawsuit has been assigned to state District Judge Kay Bates.